First and foremost, it can be difficult to be creative and bring forth new ideas when feeling fearful or anxious about one's job. The first step is to provide reassurance and encourage your teams to address some of the feelings of uncertainty. Second, engage them in the creative process and provide them a forum to explore and cultivate ideas. Carve out some time in their schedule to dedicate to brainstorming and thinking of ways to innovate.
As a BCG survey finds, many companies in their response to the COVID-19 situation focused on crisis management by creating travel restrictions (90 percent), setting up a rapid response team (84 percent), and putting a cost reduction plan in place (56 percent). However, less than a quarter of these multinational organizations had action taken on finding opportunities, like identifying paths to grow new sales channels, or preparing their supply chain for a rebound. These future focused plans can be more difficult to have when there is an impending threat, but this is where creativity and imagination is arguably the most important. Other things you can do to facilitate creativity is to ask open questions to identify if there are new products or services your team could provide, if you can adjust your current offerings, or if there is an uncharted area your team would like to explore. Importantly, set up a system for sharing these ideas once your team has come up with them. Perhaps set up a weekly meeting where the team can discuss any new ideas.
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This work has been funded by Viewpoint Foundation.